Ecommerce Shipping a Disconnect Between Merchants, Consumers

ecommerce shipping boxes at door feature

Ecommerce shipping: how disconnected are shippers and customers? (credit: Curology on Unsplash)

Expectations around ecommerce shipping, and how delivery times are communicated, it seems, are a perennial source of disconnect between merchants and their customers.

A survey as part of a new report from Shippo showed that communication of average ecommerce shipping time is one of the top two things consumers want to see on a checkout page. Yet less than half of merchants in a companion survey said they provide that information to shoppers.

On a hopeful note for merchants, nearly half of consumers (47%) said they were willing to shell out for a minimum order threshold so they could qualify for free shipping, which could help boost average order value. Ah but, there is no free, truly.

And in an era where more retailers are dialing back their free shipping policies as they acknowledge the economic reality of rising costs, more shoppers expect it. The Shippo survey found 62% of consumer respondents won’t shop with a company that doesn’t offer free shipping, up from 52% last year.

Speaking of that acknowledgement, 44% of merchants who responded to the survey said they’re spending on average north of 11% of order value on shipping, eating into their margins. Just over a third of them (34%) said that figure was between 11% and 20%.

Also, high shipping costs were cited as the number-one concern of merchants in both 2022 and looking ahead to the rest of 2023. Supply chain delays, a huge issue over the past two years, was cited by only 12% as their top concern.

The propensity for U.S. consumers to buy online continues to increase, at least based on this survey. More than a quarter of consumer respondents (28%) said they do all or most of their shopping online, up from 16% last year, with all the other markers tilting toward ecommerce. Overall, there was a 60%/40% split between those who said buying online was their preferred method, vs. those who would rather shop in stores.

“While there’s no doubt consumer spending habits are shifting and will likely continue to do so throughout the year, digital experiences are still king when it comes to where and how today’s consumers shop,” Shippo said in its report on the survey findings.

Merchant data in the survey was gathered in email responses from 1,191 ecommerce sellers across multiple categories, including apparel, food products, jewelry and electronics. Consumer data was based on responses from 1,000 U.S.-based online shoppers. Both sets of data were collected from Nov 10-Dec. 14, 2022.